In the case of one company a petition has been presented for its winding-up. I am also considering whether some more general action is needed to deal with the practice of pyramid selling.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many of these companies spring up like mushrooms, bleed thousands of unsuspecting people of their life savings by filling them up with stories of making £80,000 a week and then, when the going gets too hot, disappear like smoke? I have had many complaints about one of the companies which the hon. Gentleman's Department has investigated and decided not to prosecute. Will the hon. Gentleman take it from me that it is no good making investigations under the Companies Act in these cases? The right thing to do is to make this vile practice illegal.
Even if legislation were to be introduced it would take a very long time before it could become effective. In the meantime we have, I believe, investigated four companies and petitioned for the winding up of a fifth.
As I said in answer to the hon. Member for Watford (Mr. Raphael Tuck), we are actively considering what would be the proper action, if any, to take. I should have said that we have investigated two companies and that a further two are about to be investigated.